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Calhoun Announces 2016 Graduation Activities

May 9, 2016

Calhoun Community College will conduct its 2016 graduation ceremonies this Friday, May 13, 2016, beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the front lawn of the Math/Science/Administration (MSA) building on the Decatur campus.  In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will move to the Kelley Gymnasium, with live, televised overflow inside the MSA building. 

According to the Calhoun Admissions Office, close to over 2100 students have qualified for graduation.  Of that number, close to 500 students plan to participate in this year’s ceremony.  Among the students graduating this year is 70-year-old Malinda Ray, who proves it is never too late to pursue your dream.  An honor student, Ray will receive her associate’s degree on Friday, graduating Cum Laude.  This year’s class will also include mother (Tammey Bowers) and daughter (Isabella Bowers) graduates and the first graduates from Calhoun’s Toyota/FAME (Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education) AMT program.  A unique feature added to the ceremony several years ago will continue this year – the graduation procession will be led by bagpiper Ryan Morrison.

Lex WaltersSpeaker for this year's graduation service is Dr. Lex Walters, President Emeritus of Piedmont Technical College in South Carolina.  

Walters grew up on a farm in the Buford Community of Lancaster, South Carolina, the twelfth child of William Vander and Flossie Hinson Walters.  Like others in his family, he received his higher education at Clemson University, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Chemical Engineering, completed coursework for a master’s degree in Business Administration, and received a Ph.D. in Engineering Management.  

He began employment with the South Carolina Technical College System at Greenville Technical College in 1962, the first year the system was in operation.  At Greenville Tech, Walters served initially as head of the Chemical Technology Department, and later held positions as Evening Director, Dean of Instruction, and Associate Director.  In 1968, Walters was named President of  Piedmont Technical College and served in this role until his retirement in 2008. He took great pride in seeing the services of the college grow from an enrollment of about 175 students in 1968 to an enrollment of over 6,000 credit students when he retired. 

During his years as president of the college, Walters served in many state, regional and national offices in educational associations.  On three occasions, he served as Chair of the South Carolina Technical College President's Council, president of the Southern Association of Community colleges, and as a member of the Commission of Colleges with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.  For many years he served on the board of the National Community College Presidents Academy and in 1988 was named as Chair of the President's Academy in which all community and technical college presidents across the US were members.  

Upon retirement, Walters was presented the "Order of the Palmetto", the state's highest honor from the Governor of his home state.  He was named the National Community College President of the Year by Phi Theta Kappa which is the National two-year college student honors organization and received many other educational honors including an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Lander University. 

Commenting on Walters, Calhoun President Dr. James Klauber had this to say, “Dr. Walters gave me my first job in higher education.  He was one of the longest serving presidents at any one institution in America (38 years) and was one of the champions of the community college movement during its high growth period from the 1960’s forward to his retirement in 2008.  

“When speaking with our students, I often tell them that to succeed in their chosen career, they should have a mentor; Dr. Walters has been my mentor from day one, and I value the guidance and friendship he has given me.”

Earlier in the day on Friday, students graduating from Calhoun’s Associate Degree Nursing program will participate in the annual Candlelighting Ceremony. The ceremonies will begin at 1:00 p.m. in the Kelley Gymnasium. 

This year’s graduation week events will kick off with the College’s 2016 GED graduation on Tuesday, May 10th at 6pm in the Kelley Gymnasium.  Close to 100 students will be participating in the annual ceremony celebrating this important milestone. During the ceremony, selected members of the graduating class will share personal stories about their experiences in the GED program.  

For more information about Calhoun's 2016 graduation ceremonies, contact Janet Kincherlow-Martin, Public Affairs, Community Relations, and Special Events, at 256-306-2561.